Comprehensive sexual education is necessary for every adolescent but its urgency is palpable in this country. The 2020 NCRB report identified that 28.9% of the entire child population experienced some form of sexual crime and in 2021 NCRB flagged a 24% spike in child sexual abuse in five Indian states. Amongst the many aspects of sex education - period literacy, safe sexual practice, contraception, and more - consent stands out as a cornerstone for fostering healthy relationships, emotional intelligence, and societal well-being.
In a society where discussions around sex education often tiptoe around taboo, Consensify is a pioneering initiative. Born out of the Anant Fellowship for the Built Environment, Consensify is more than just a board game; it is a thoughtful response to the urgent need for redefining sex education in India.
Without equipping our young with the right information we are not only endangering their present but also leaving them to grow up with taboos, stigma, and misconceptions. Teaching consent from an early age lays the foundation for building healthy relationships in the future.
Without any policy mandate, sex education of any form is both irregular and unmonitored in India - leaving educators and parents grappling with how to broach the subject. By targeting teenagers between the ages of 14 to 17, the game aims to instill a sense of body autonomy and nuanced consent beyond simplistic binaries. Its primary goal is to educate teenagers about the various facets of consent, including cultural specificity through strategy and quizzes.
Minors begin to navigate interpersonal dynamics, and understanding the concept of consent equips them with tools to communicate and respect boundaries. It is mighty patronizing of us adults to presume that young minds cannot grasp non-binary concepts. Instead, in the process of growing up, we lose the flexibility of our minds. We must introduce them to the idea of boundaries, consent, and touch beyond the binary of good and bad touch - which is a popular method to teach safety.
Consensify serves as a tool to break down barriers and initiate open conversations. By introducing the concept of consent in a relatable and interactive manner, the game strives to guide adolescents to make informed decisions about their bodies, relationships, and personal boundaries. Moreover, Consensify's emphasis on collaboration and peer learning fosters an environment where young minds can learn and grow together, creating a ripple effect of awareness and understanding.
The primary aim of early consent education is to empower children with a sense of agency over their bodies and personal space. By learning to recognize and articulate their boundaries, children develop the skills needed to navigate social interactions confidently. This also teaches them to respect others’ boundaries and recognise consent violations amongst their peers. It cultivates empathy, kindness, and a deep understanding of the significance of mutual consent in different contexts. Consensify’s gameplay is designed in a way that also promotes conflict resolution among players.
Ms. Sohini Sengupta, Anant Fellowship in Built Environment, Anant National University, the creator of the game says, “Consensify is not just a game; it is an educational tool that has the power to shape a future generation that respects boundaries, values communication, and contributes to a culture of consent.”
Ms. Sohini Sengupta, Anant Fellowship in Built Environment, Anant National University